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Google Sidebar

Those who remember Pointcast and "push" technology will feel right at home with the many new Web-on-your-desktop technologies becoming popular these days. Widgets are coming into vogue, it seems. And now we have Google Sidebar.

These new apps mostly take advantage of RSS, which is actually "pull'' technology. The end result is essentially the same.

Released tonight, Google Sidebar is a window that sits on your desktop and pulls in photos, stock quotes, blog content, email messages and more into a sidebar that sits permanently on your desktop. It's not part of the browser, as are some other sidebar tools or plug-ins. (For widget fans, it's kind of like a super widget.)

The sidebar comes bundled with the latest version of Google Desktop Search.

It comes preloaded with some RSS feeds, but users can customize it to suit their tastes. We played with it for a while on Friday. Our first observation is that it eats up a lot of screen space, more than we're typically comfortable with. That would be OK if you could push it into the background when you wanted to reclaim all your screen space. But you can't; it's always on top (though you can minimize it like other Windows applications, and you can set it to "auto-hide," as noted in the comment below). It also seemed to slow down our computer somewhat, perhaps because Google Desktop Search was indexing our files. On the other hand, it's handy to be able to see what's new at a quick glance. And the scratch pad to jot notes is kinda cool.

Go play and decide for yourselves. Windows only, 2000 and above.


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From: TechCrunch
Google Sidebar to Launch Monday
Excerpt: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google will release a new product tomorrow called “Sidebar”. As far as I can tell the product is not available at Google yet (as of 10:00 PM PST on Sunday). However, the WSJ reports that Sidebar w...
Tracked: August 21, 2005 10:09 PM
From: *michael parekh on IT*
ON GOOGLE'S APPETITE FOR THE DESKTOP
Excerpt: JUST A LITTLE BIT OF ROOM PLEASEGoogle kicks off the new week with the introduction of the Google Sidebar (via Siliconbeat), with a plethora of new features not found in the Google Toolbar, which takes up the top of the browser, and Desktop Google, wh...
Tracked: August 22, 2005 4:11 AM

Comments

Ah, but you can set it to auto-hide (click the prefs menu in the top/main bar of Sidebar).

Other cool stuff - a toolbar for Outlook and indexing of your GMail account (if you use GMail).

rick gregory on August 22, 2005 12:28 AM
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It is good to see major players compete with each other in an effort to bring out better products but off late they don't seem to interest us (atleast me) anymore...simply redundant.. not worth their effort...

Warm Regards,
Kavs @ rateAcoder.com

FreelanceRatings.com on August 22, 2005 1:13 AM
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no bulleted lists on the scratchpad, just like Yahoo! notepad...good first effort though.

Agree with the screen real estate issue.

Good post...thanks.

michael parekh on August 22, 2005 3:50 AM
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The Google Sidebar is certainly cool (as is Konfabulator, Desktop Sidebar, Apple Dashboard, and, eventually, the Windows Vista Sidebar). However, it is only part of the answer to having a fully integrated "personal intelligence agent" at your disposal. If you want to get a glimpse at the next two or three steps beyond what Google and the like are doing, check out my Mentations product at www.mentations.com. While still an early beta, I hope the intent is clear as to the direction we are taking it! BTW, any constructive criticism is most welcome.

Brian Schneeberg on August 22, 2005 1:17 PM
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I really love the sidebar! There's also a site which is developing more plugins: http://www.desktop-plugins.com

Chris Crompton on August 26, 2005 3:53 AM
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